What Is Love?


The following is a paper that I wrote in college, and found when I was packing up. I thought it worthy of publishing because of the events of the 20 years. Let me know what you think. For what its worth, I got a B on it. 
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For the past year or so, I have been battling with the idea of what I want from a relationship. Naturally, everyone dreams of meeting their soulmate and riding away into the sunset together, yet few people ever truly experienced this kind of love. After extensive soul-searching, I have come to the realization that I really have Never Loved Before. I don't know if it's a blessing or not. It's true that I have been able to avoid a lot of pain, but I have also been able to avoid any deeply fulfilling relationships. I have never experienced a truly unselfish and pure love that transcends all else. It was not until recently that I even realized that there might be something wrong with this.


What is this thing that we call love? I suppose I have always believed that it was some spiritual and all-consuming feeling that sustains you through everything, and yet, how can one live in the world with their head in the clouds? To me, love is expressed when a person shows respect and responsibility for their partner by fulfilling their obligations to themselves and their families. It is difficult to be swept up in a rage of passion when you are worried about your next meal. To me, a partnership begins with mutual friendship and compatibility, then gradually builds into a strong love, through continual reinforcement of trust and respect. How can someone truly believe that the passion that sweeps through your belly when you see someone be loved? That is not love, that is Raging hormones. It is the biological drive to procreate. Love is something else altogether.

My struggle is that love is not enough; you also need passion. You need to feel your heart flutter when you see your lover. You need to feel your knees Buckle at their touch. You need the passion that is so suspect. You need the all-consuming but short-lived lust. This capricious feeling that flickers over us, then flutters to another victim, is such a necessary evil. Why?

Why is it not enough to say to your lover, we are happy together. We can make each other laugh, and we can talk about anything. I realize that I'm not the one you fantasize about, but what is that, when we could be so good together? Empires have been built on less. Why isn't it enough? Why can't friendship be enough?

Love is a powerful and indefinable emotion. It defies all rational description. In fact, the more rational you try to make it, the more the definition eludes you. Trying to define love is like trying to define God. You can't. All you can hope for is an explanation that works for you. You cannot criticize a person because their form of love is different than yours. Love is highly personal and individual thing. The person who falls in love because they felt butterflies in their stomach is no better than a person who falls in love with a person who is it comfortable friend. Both are equally sacred.

April 24, 1997


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